Indian lower order fights back, 221/8

Published: Saturday, November 24, 2001, 3:57 [IST]
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Centurion: India's lower order batsmen showed spirited resistance on the first day of its controversial unofficial Test against South Africa at Centurion Park on Friday.India, which was sent in to bat, were 221 for eight at the close, with Anil Kumble bowled by Mornantau Hayward off the last ball of the day for 27 after defying the South African bowlers for almost three hours. On a day without distinguished individual performances, Hayward, with three for 70, was South Africa's most successful bowler. The match went ahead despite the International Cricket Council (ICC) withdrawing its sanction after the teams acted to prevent former England captain Mike Denness acting as match referee. India and South Africa plan, however, to have the match reinstated as the third and final Test in a series which South Africa lead 1-0. On a well-grassed pitch which helped South Africa's seam bowlers, opening batsman Shiv Sunder Das played the biggest innings for India, making a slow 46 off 132 balls before slashing fast bowler Mornantau Hayward to backward point. Indian star Sachin Tendulkar, whose punishment for interfering with the match ball led to the row over Denness, played brightly as he made 27 off 38 balls before glancing Jacques Kallis down the leg side for wicket-keeper Mark Boucher to hold a diving catch. Kallis was an impressive bowler, taking two for 15 off 13 overs, while Lance Klusener made the first breakthrough, trapping uncapped Indian opening batsman Connor Williams lbw for five and conceding only four runs in eight overs. Williams, like fellow left-hander Jacques Rudolph of South Africa, was making his international debut without being sure he will be recognised as a Test player. India did not select Virender Sehwag, the player who was suspended for one match by Denness, and skipper Saurav Ganguly did not play because of shoulder and back spasms. Rahul Dravid captained the side. The changes left the Indian batting line-up looking thin but the lower order batsmen did well after the team had been reduced to 107 for five. Kumble helped Deep Dasgupta put on 51 for the sixth wicket and shared a 39-run seventh wicket partnership with Harbhajan Singh, who made an aggressive 29 off 32 balls.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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